Mangaluru: Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers Association (KCMA) registered a protest against the proposed import duties in the Union Budget.
President of KCMA, Bola Rahul Kamath said that KCMA strongly protested the move by the Government of India to impose 5% Basic Custom Duty on import of raw cashew nuts in the Union Budget 2016. The effective rate of duty is more than 9.5%, taking into consideration SAD and cess.
The budget places emphasis on employment generation and food processing. But, it is surprising that, age old employment generating food processing industry is being targeted by the government. The cashew industry in India processed more than 16 lakh MT of raw cashew nut per annum. As Indian crop was only 6 lakh MT, they were forced to import the balance requirement from the overseas country (Mainly African Countries).
Cashew Industry is an ideal industry to portray ‘Make in India’ dream, as we import raw cashew, process it in India and export them. Already African Governments are taking steps to develop their indigenous Cashew processing sector and hence, industry is under tremendous competitive pressure. It is surprising that, 4% SAD is being levied on raw cashew imports, and this is made refundable to a trader but not refundable to a manufacturer. In other words, the government is discouraging people who ‘Make in India’ and encourage traders who just import and sell to India.
Presently, cashew industry employs more than 7 lakh workers, mainly women from backward section of the society from rural parts of India. With this new duty structure coming in, the cashew industry is all set to lose its competitiveness to countries like Vietnam and the Africa continent. This may result in closure of many units and massive loss of employment opportunities.
Hence, the Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers Association demanded for immediate rollback on the import duty levy on cashew industry. A memorandum was also submitted to the Minister for Finance, Arun Jaitley.